Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A fall harvest

Tucked along the edge of the Shenandoah Valley, a 200 year-old apple orchard sits and welcomes apple lovers of all ages to come and reap the bounty of its land.  Planted with a wonderful variety of trees (most of which are now laden with ripe fruit), the orchard boasts beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and over 30-acres to explore and enjoy.  The boys and I visited one day last fall with Big Man's preschool class, and this morning we set out once again for this annual field trip to the hills. 

And what a fabulous trip we had!  The Lord blessed us with a gloriously beautiful morning-- I don't think there was a cloud in the sky-- and a breath-taking backdrop for our time of togetherness and fun.  The boys loved running through the trees and eagerly stretched on their tippy-toes to twist apples from their branches while Lolli contentedly cruised along in her stroller.  We gathered our treasures by the bag full and even discovered a few other appley-yummies in the Harvest House before we left.  Grandmom (we're so glad you came with us, Mom!) filled bags of her own to take home and we both even purchased a few pumpkins to grace our front doorsteps.  Now, with apples coming out of our ears, or so it seems, you know what's next on our docket... a homemade apple pie... or two!  

Monday, September 29, 2008


Simple, healthy, whole-grain goodness...
And Lolli's newest treat.

For several weeks now, Lolli's been eating (and loving!) solid foods. You know, the Gerber kind. If she had it her way, I'm sure she'd be gobbling up everything we eat, as well; a toothless mouth, however, sort of prevents that from happening. Well, the other day I decided to offer her a few Cheerios (one at a time, of course) to see what she'd do with them. First, she was amused by these tiny oddities-- they were fun little toys. Once she discovered their yummy taste and texture, however (because-- naturally-- they soon ended up in her mouth, just like everything else she gets her hands on), her precious face lit up with delight. These were not just new little play things; they were perfect little snacks for her itty-bitty hands... a whole new world at her fingertips!

And isn't it just that way with wee ones?? It doesn't take much to make them happy... a plastic spoon, an empty cup, a tupperware lid, a discarded box, and now, a little round cheerio. Oh, if only it could always be this easy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tub time

After spending a few hours at the very hot & muggy soccer fields this afternoon, my little people were all in desperate need of a good, hot bath.  The layer of sweat and grime covering each of their bodies was likely an inch thick, and possibly even thicker than that on my oldest two (who actually played in the soccer games while the rest of us just watched).  I don't think "disgusting" adequately describes their physical condition (and I really do mean that in the nicest possible way).  So... Noh-man headed up for a shower right when we arrived home while Bub opted to wait until bedtime.  That left only two in need of parental involvement and the task of bathing precious Lolli-lu first fell in my lap (Hubby offered to take care of the kitchen for me and I wasn't about to turn that down!). 

Fortunately, Lollipop loves the tub and tonight was no exception. Even though she was already super-tired, she perked right up when her tiny little tush hit the water.  I started scrubbing right away because, like her three brothers, Lolli is good 'til the last drop... when she's done though, she's done, and no amount of coaxing will convince her to change her mind.  Well, no sooner had I washed her hair than Big Man waltzed into the bathroom, naked as a jay bird, thinking it was his turn in the tub.  He soon understood that he'd have to wait until his sister was done and that wasn't a problem for him-- he liked the idea of playing with her from the side.  After a moment or two, however, I got to thinking... why not let him climb in??  After all, Lolli sits upright very well, and I'd be right there for every second of their time together, so why not??  Big Man, of course, thought this was a tremendous idea, so in he climbed, ready for the start of something new-- fun in the tub with his sis.  

Mosby came in several times to see what the commotion was all about~ 

And even Nannie peeked in once or twice to see what was going on...
Needless to say, a good-- yet very exhausting-- time was had by all. 
 Once out of the tub and dressed in her p.j.s, Lolli was out like a light in less than 5 minutes.  I think we just might have "tub time" more often!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A little more of the birthday boy

Since Big Man's birthday fell mid-week, Hubby and I decided to have our little family party on Saturday when our out-of-towners could be present.  Poppa had not yet departed for South Dakota so he was able to make it (we missed you, though, Granmoggie!); Grandmom & Pops drove up for the weekend, too, and Hubby's sister and her crew traveled across town to slam down some pizza and Batman cake with us all. It was a boisterous and festive crew here at the ranch, but what else can one expect from 7 excited kidlets and a handful of hungry adults? 

At first I was prepared to chronicle the entire celebration here.  After giving it some thought, though, I decided to just post a few of my favorite Big Man birthday shots.  After all, it's not every day that my little guy turns 4!

A very happy Batman (assuming, of course, that Pops will share the title)~

 My wounded warrior...  
Fortunately, band-aids are like butter-- they always make it better.
Uncle Dave would be proud... UVa goodies top each of the boys' "lists"~

And who'd have guessed that Big Man's new bike would be "cooler" than his brothers because it has 4 wheels instead of two??
Oh, how I love the wonders of childhood!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Man!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Big Man,
Happy Birthday to you!

You're our pint-sized, pistol of a treasure and we love you bunches!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Physical Education, our way

Fall is here-- officially-- and we are loving every second of it!  The humidity is low, the air temp is heavenly... were it not for the mosquitoes, outdoor life would be perfect.  So what better way to make the most of it than to spend an afternoon or two outside.  After all, every little boy needs the occasional break from his studies.  So why not take that break and turn it into something constructive?  One of the beauties of home schooling... we can call it P.E., so that's exactly what we do.

Fortunately we live on an extremely quiet street.  There's very little automobile traffic during the early part of the afternoon, and what's even better (for the boys)--our street slopes gently downhill, just enough to provide my skateboard-riding dudes with a good ride.  And how they love it!  Back and forth, back and forth, until someone comes up with a new idea: tandem riding... just the sort of thing a mom needs to make sure her ticker is still working properly~

And then it was back up to the top of the hill for a new kind of race: Big Man on his trike; Bub and Noh-man on their boards... head first.  
Needless to say, that venture didn't work out so well for the older two.  So they decided to try again, this time sitting up.  It didn't take long for them to leave Big Man in the dust~
but no worries, he gladly brought up the rear, crooked helmet and all~
Then they trudged back up the street for another go-round...  
And such was our afternoon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

To the rescue!

Over the years, the boys have played with a lot of toys.  Some have stood the test of time; others have lasted a mere moment or two.  Their favorites-- Legos, trains, pistols & rifles-- have provided hours of creative play, whether it be in their indoor "laboratory," or on a simulated battlefield in the back yard.  Super heroes, naturally, have been both indoor and outdoor  favorites and one collection in particular lasted for quite some time.  Rescue Heroes, plastic figurines decked out in service uniforms and fully equipped with gear of all sorts, littered our home for months as my little boys daily set out to rescue any helpless soul trapped in harm's way.  Bub and Noh-man zoomed their helicopters from room to room and raced their police cars through the house shouting, "To the rescue!" as the lives of others hung in the balance.

Well, last Wednesday we were blessed with the opportunity to visit some real-life heroes who work just up the street from us.  Along with several other home schooling families, we were looking forward to a tour of the Old Town Fire Station that morning, so, bright and early, the boys and I packed Lolli up in her stroller and headed for town.  

What a fun time we had!!  We saw hoses and boots and helmets and ladders and overcoats and oxygen masks and oxygen tanks and power tools and sirens and all the other wonderful goodies a fire house holds.  (My only disappointment-- no pole.  I just can't imagine a fire station without a pole! Evidently, when the station was built eons ago, a pole was not included in the original planning, and now, due to various structural aspects of the building, adding one is simply out of the question.) 

Anyway-- we all learned tons of things.  For instance:
  • The engine is considered their "swimming pool on wheels."  It holds 500 gallons of water.
  • The fire truck holds no water, only tools.  Check out this one:  it's called the "Jaws of Death."  With it, a fireman can cut the roof off a car in 30 seconds.
  • A fireman needs to get into ALL his gear, including his oxygen mask and helmet, in less than 60 seconds.
  • The truck carries little rubbery pillows, of sorts-- about the size of a throw pillow you'd toss on your sofa.  When inflated, one alone can lift and hold a car off the ground.  Several can be stacked together to create passageways through fallen debris, necessary for rescuing anyone who's trapped.  Neat stuff!
After the tour, the firemen granted the children permission to climb on the engine and pose for pictures for their mommas.  We all then started to say our thanks and goodbyes when we were suddenly met with a last minute surprise... the alarm sounded!  One fireman calmly gathered our group along one side of the station while the others dashed across the floor in all different directions.  They yanked on their gear and revved up the trucks to answer an emergency call.  While we watched, the vehicles sped out of the station, lights flashing, sirens blaring, towards their destination across town.  We certainly hoped no one was hurt, but wow!, was that ever exciting!
Flying high, the kids and I headed back down the street towards home, recollecting all we learned and saw. It was the end of a great field trip, topped off with one final treat for mom... this precious moment shared by my two littlest people:

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I love music.
Music is definitely my thing.
It always has been; I'm sure it always will be.

Have you ever listened to a really good song? Have you ever been challenged by a really good song? Have you ever been moved to tears by a really good song? There's just something about songs. With lyrics. Without lyrics... for me, words put to music penetrate deeper and convict more fully than thoughts expressed in almost any other medium. The rhythm, the melody, the orchestration, the poetry, the voices, the emotion-- all these ingredients, when combined in the very best way, minister to me in a way the spoken word cannot.

Here's an example. "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" by Stuart Townsend... it's one of my absolute favorites. It conveys the message of the Cross and the sacrifice of Christ-- THE defining moment in all of history-- in 3 beautiful verses. Now this morning, you add to that one voice thousands more-- lifted heavenward to an Audience of One-- and it's absolutely, without a doubt, breathtaking. There's just. nothing. like it...

How Deep the Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
how vast beyond all measure
that He should give His only Son
to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss.
The Father turns His face away
as wounds which mar the Chosen One
bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon the cross,
my sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything:
no gifts, no pow'r, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ:
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahoy there, matey!

... and shiver me timbers! It's National "Talk like a Pirate" Day, and you know what that means-- you have to speak like a pirate all day long! Are you up for the challenge?? Neither am I really (the boys, however, are very excited!), so instead I'll just pass along a couple jokes if that's ok (and I must give the credit to Hubby for these-- he's the one who called early this morning to fill us in, after all. Otherwise, we'd go through the entire day without this vital bit of info). So here we go~

What does a pirate call his bullet-proof vest??

What did the pirate pay for his new wooden leg and hook?
An Arrrrm and a leg!

So there you have it... two great jokes to get you started. Now, go find some unsuspecting victim and let 'em have it. And if you need some help, just check out this site. It's the official "Talk Like a Pirate" Day home page (did you even know there was such a thing??). Happy pirating!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Homecoming

Today's the big day, yippee and hooray~ later this afternoon, Dave & Wilma will be bringing their babies home from the hospital for the very first time!!  For the past two and a half weeks the little guys (well, guy and gal) have endured oxygen masks and ventilators and CPAP machines and feeding tubes; today, however, they're breathing on their own and taking all their feedings naturally.  They're tipping the scales at 5 pounds each and both have reached every other milestone necessary to be released from the care of the NICU.  What a great day it is... what an answer to prayer!  Thank you, LORD!

Now, if you're the praying sort, may I please ask that you pray for Dave and his family?  This is, without a doubt, a wonderful time for them, but as all parents remember (or as those without kiddos can probably assume), the first few months (or is it years??) of parenthood are especially difficult and often times stressful as both mom and dad adjust to life with little ones (translate: no sleep) and all the care they require.  Fortunately, Dave gets a fair bit of paternity leave so he and Wilma will be able to enjoy this journey together, side by side, all day and all night, until he returns to work in a few weeks. 

This truly is a big, big, wonderful day for them and we are all just thrilled to pieces! 

 Welcome home little ones, welcome home~

"O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"

Psalm 34:8

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Ever feel like this??

~Saxton Freymann